Personal Hiking & Camping Gear
Because Troop 80 is heavily involved in camping and backpacking, the personal equipment you purchase for your son is very important. Poor equipment will make the experiences he will have miserable and expensive equipment will break your pocketbook. From many years of experience, Troop 80 has accumulated a great store of knowledge in camping. The following equipment suggestions are made with the parents and scout in mind. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to talk with one of the Assistant Scoutmasters.
It has been our experience that two companies have excellent equipment at reasonable prices, REI Coop and Campmor. These mail order outlets have just about everything you will need. They will fill a phone-in order in about one week, and they are cheaper than the local merchants. To receive the Campmor catalogue phone 1-800-526-4784. The mailing address is Campmor, 810 Route 17 North, P.O. Box 997-P, Paramus, NJ 07653-0997, on the web at www.campmor.com. You can get the REI catalogue by phoning 1-800-426-4840. The mailing address is REI, Sumner, WA 98352-0001, on the web at www.rei.com.
General Note: Unless you are an experienced back-packer do not make any major purchases of equipment until you have checked with an Assistant Scoutmaster or the Scoutmaster It is possible to
Each scout may borrow the correct type of equipment until he acquires his own equipment. Ask the Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to your son’s patrol or squad to borrow equipment. The Troop also has funds to purchase equipment where necessary: expense of equipment should not keep a boy from participating.
Backpack: All external frame packs should have an aluminum frame, padded shoulder pads, and a padded belly band. Add on foam pad belly bands can be bought separately. The belly band should be the right size for your son because this part of the pack carries most of the pack weight. Unless you are purchasing a high quality specialized backpack and frame, such as Jansport, the tubing in the frame should be approximately 1" in diameter. Some back frames purchased at Target or Academy have smaller diameter tubing and are not rugged enough for our program. A recommended back for our program is the
Camp Trails Adjustable II. Other brands which are good for our program include Kelty, REI, Jansport, and North Face. Internal frame packs are becoming more popular. They are generally more expensive. Consult an Assistant Scoutmaster before buying one of these packs.
Sleeping Bag All sleeping bags should have at least 3 pounds of Dacron Hollo-fill II, Qualofil, Polar-guard, or down fill. Dacron or polar-guard is generally less expensive and retains its insulating ability when wet.
Foam Pad: Closed cell foam pads are recommended. They can be bought at army surplus stores, or from Campmor or REI. Ridgerest pads are also recommended. Thermarest® pads can be ordered from REI or Campmor. They are more expensive and are heavier, but are more comfortable if you want to carry them.
Stuff Sacks: Each sleeping bag and foam pad must have a water repellant nylon stuff sack. These can be bought locally at Academy, Wal-Mart or Target. They cost $4.00 – $10.00 each. Occasionally, Troop 80 will have stuff sacks in stock which you can purchase.
Web Straps and Sleeping Bag Straps: In order to hold the sleeping bag and foam pad to the frame, each scout should have at least one pair of 48" web straps. The Troop sometimes sells web
straps. Ask the Finance Committee to purchase them.
Pack Covers: Most backpacks are not water proof and will require a cover to shed rain. You may also use a large plastic garbage bag. The plastic garbage bag is light weight, takes up little room, is very efficient and inexpensive, but has a short life.
Rain Gear: Rain jackets are recommended. Ponchos are acceptable, but are cumbersome around camp. Inexpensive plastic rain jackets can be bought at Walmart or Target for about $5.00.
Hiking Boots: Hiking boots are a necessity for the camping program. However, because scouts’ feet grow so rapidly, inexpensive boots are recommended. The boots should have the "lug" sole. Inexpensive boots can be bought at Target, K-Mart and Walmart. Prices start at about $40.00. Boots should be leather and should be water proofed with Red Wing boot oil, Kiwi waterproofing paste, mink oil, or Sno-seal. Water proofing products can be bought at Albertsons, Walmart, and some shoe stores. The yellow label Vibram Lug Sole is the best choice of soles, but other types of lug soles also work well.
Knives: Fixed blade knives are not permitted under Troop policy. "Butterfly" knives are also not permitted by Troop policy, as well as being illegal under State law. It is a Class A misdemeanor to carry a Butterfly knife. Locking blade hunting knives are acceptable. Swiss army knives as well as the official scout pocket knife are recommended. The official scout knife recommended is the Boy Scout Utility Knife. A good lock blade knife is the Scout-Lite Buck Knife. Swiss Army knives can also be ordered from the BSA catalog or from the Campmor catalog.
Flashlights: Small flashlights requiring 2 "C" batteries are small enough to carry and big enough to be useful. Penlights are too small for some uses. Larger flashlights are too heavy for backpacking. There are some new super light flashlights made by Tekna which are ideal for camping. These are much more expensive than a flashlight bought at Albertson’s or Target (such as Mini Mag lights). They are located in the Campmor catalog.
Canteens: Plastic 1 quart or 1 liter bottles or canteens are recommended. Metal canteens with straps or GI types
which go on belts are not recommended. The canteen should be carried inside the pack. Plastic is lighter in weight and will not chemically react with lemonade or fruit drink like some of the metal canteens. The recommended canteen is the plastic faceted bottle one quart canteen, item #80804, Campmor catalog. The Troop gives away 1 liter distilled water bottles from the hospital which make perfect canteens. A canteen does not cost much, and the weight is not that great. Canteens are required equipment, since all water in the outdoors must now be treated. Your son needs about a gallon of water per day when he is in the outdoors. Please encourage him to carry a canteen. It will keep him from borrowing from other people and from becoming dehydrated.
Eating Utensils: The scout should buy
a lightweight plastic plate and cup. The metal Scout knife, fork, spoon
self-stacking set is also recommended. The Scout aluminum mess kit is usable but
not recommended. The GI mess kit is not recommended. The Texas Ware Plate from
Target and the Toot’n’Totum insulated cup are also good items.
Cots: Cots are optional, but highly recommended. Aluminum cots which fold in half are not allowed. The Troop
requires folding cots, G.I. Army style, either wooden, aluminum, or steel. Wooden cots should be made of hard-wood instead of pine. The hard-wood frame can be reused even if the canvas tears. The pine frames have a bad tendency to break. Wooden cots can be bought at Academy or army surplus stores. There are cots being made in the G.I. Army style but with aluminum tubing instead of wooden framing. These cots are acceptable so long as they fold up like a wooden cot. Costs vary from $50 to $90 depending on the weight of the canvas. They can also be ordered by catalog.